A 16-year-old Cork teenager delivered an inspirational keynote address on Thursday to a packed conference at the United Unions in New York City.
Joanne O’Riordan, who was born without any arms or legs, received a standing ovation after she spoke for ten minutes about how technology had changed her life. The teenager delivered the keynote address to over 200 delegates at the inaugural 'Girls in ICT' conference, organized by the UN's International Telecommunication Union.
The ambitious teenager was invited to speak at the conference alongside a panel of women including a European Commissioner, a UN ambassador, politicians and IT executives from Microsoft, Cisco and Facebook, according to the Irish Independent.
"Technology is the limb I never had," she told the audience.
"As you can see I was born without my limbs, but my motto in life is: 'No Limbs No Limits'.
"The disability I have is known as 'total amelia' and it is one of the rarest conditions known to us. I believe there are only seven people in the world living with this physical form," she said, before explaining how technology has enhanced her life.
"My parents have told me that when I was one, I first began to explore the use of technology with our old computer," she told the audience.
"Believe it or not, I simply use my upper and bottom lip, chin, nose and hand to work most if not all these systems," she explained.
"Today I can type 36 words a minute and, for someone with no limbs, I think that's an incredible achievement," she said, to cheering and applause.
"It sounds almost insane but . . . I've always wanted and would love to have a robot. This robot would become my hands and legs," she said.
"Technology has made me even more determined to achieve a better standard and quality of life. I always think, if I can do this now, what would I achieve in the future?"
Joanne was joined by her her parents Anne and Joe and her older brother Steven for the trip.
Watch Joanne’s full speech below: